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Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 3/5)

Get into the garden
"Gardening combines cardiovascular exercise with flexibility, endurance and muscle strength - and real benefits are often obtained in a far more enjoyable manner than by pounding away on a treadmill for hours," says GP and anti-ageing expert Dr Roger Henderson. An hour's steady gardening is equivalent to a five-mile walk. If you don't do any other form of exercise, garden three to four times a week.

Up your milk intake
Milk's vitamin D content makes it an effective anti-inflammatory, says anti-ageing expert Dr Mike Moreno. "Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been linked to both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis - two diseases with inflammation as the culprit," he says.

Watch your waist
It's not so much your weight as the amount of fat around your middle that matters - waist measurement is a better predictor of heart disease than BMI (body mass index) because it can point to visceral fat, the dangerous fat around the organs.
For a quick check, lie on your back on the floor - if your tummy flattens, your fat is mainly subcutaneous; a "dome" or paunch indicates visceral fat that could shorten your life.

Invest in some weights
Anti-ageing expert Dr Miriam Nelson, of Tufts University, Massachusetts, says weight lifting is great for anti-ageing.
In a study of 40 post-menopausal women who did strength training, twice a week for 30 minutes, she found after a year 'their bodies had become 15 to 20 years younger (in terms of restoring muscle mass) and they all regained bone density instead of losing it, as women normally do at that age."

Check your environmental health
Most of us live in cities, where pollution can have dire health consequences such as increased rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. So the last thing you want to do is compound the problem by smoking.
But 5 Stages Of Health author, cardiologist Dr Ross Walker, says synthetic chemicals and electro-magnetic radiation can also pose problems, such as excessive use of X-rays or CT scans and spending too much time on a mobile phone.
"We're exposed to this background electro-magnetic radiation and we're not really sure what effect that's having on our body," Walker says. He says it is even worth keeping computers, TVs and wiring out of the bedroom.

Take Vitamin D supplements
The body's ability to synthesise vitamin D from sunlight is reduced with age, and lower levels affects your immunity and bones. The over-60s are advised to have a daily 10mcg supplement as well as spending a little time in the sun (ideally 20 minutes a day).

Smile more
Smiling triggers the release of chemicals that can make you feel happier, even if you're faking the grin, but a study at Wayne State University in Michigan showed the wider (and more authentic) your smile, the longer you'll live - possibly because the smile reflects positive emotion which has been linked to physical and mental well-being.

Power of prunes
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have developed a rating scale for the antioxidant content in food - raisins, blueberries and blackberries are 'super foods", containing 20 times the antioxidant power of other foods. But top of the list is the humble prune.

Work hard
You'd think an easy job would be less harmful, but The Longevity Project, a study of the lives of 1,500 people over 80 years, found hard work and accomplishment is a strong predictor of long life - and those with the most career success were the least likely to die young.

Stop telling lies
Lying can trigger stress hormones that increase heart rate and breathing, slow digestion and cause tension and hypersensitivity in muscles and nerve fibres.
Australian researchers found that people instructed to stop telling lies showed significant improvements in health in just ten weeks, with fewer mental health complaints (such as tension) and fewer physical complaints (sore throats and headaches).

Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 1)
Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 2)
Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 4)
Fifty ways to live to 100 (Part 5)

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